[IMG1LEFT]Last October, I was blessed with the privilege of conducting a series of evangelistic meetings right here in my hometown of Lewisburg, WV. And, to be quite honest, I had not put together the fact that because these meetings were being held locally, my daughter would be attending each night. Well, I’ve always tried to demonstrate to her what I feel is a true picture of what God really feels for her; I’m pleased to say it came together for her during this series. She caught it! I watched as her heart reached out toward a Love that was reaching out to her, and what a beautiful sight it was. I mean, it would be beautiful to watch it happen to anyone, but, this time, it was my oldest daughter. She came to me one night after the meeting had ended, and asked if, even though she was my daughter and these meetings were for the public, whether she could be baptized.
I’ve never believed in pushing kids. I’ve always figured that, when the love of Jesus touches their heart, they’ll make the decision all on their own, naturally. But I was truly unprepared for what happened in my heart as I realized how deeply she was encountering God’s love for her. This was my own daughter!
To make a long story short, it was my distinct privilege, last month (December 2008), to baptize my own daughter. Words cannot express what if feels like to baptize your own child.
The morning before she was baptized, while taking a few moments with God about what was about to happen, [IMG2RIGHT]He reminded me of the words He gave us in the gospel of John: “You did not choose Me but I chose you” (John 15.16). At that moment, I realized that I had been so excited about the decision my daughter was making, but God wanted me to see something deeper. The decision had really been made, not by Alexis, but by God himself! He had chosen my Ally! It was simply His love for her that I was watching her respond to. I cannot express the love I felt toward my Savior at that moment. For He not only loved me, He loved one of the most precious people in the world to me . . . my eldest daughter.
[IMG3LEFT]That day, as we were in the water, I reminded her of how she spent the first night of her life curled up on my chest as we both just lay there and slept. A special bond was created that night between her and me, and although I would love to be baptizing her today, there was Someone Who wanted to do it even more than I did, Who loved her more than I possibly ever could. I explained to her what it meant to do something in someone else’s name. It means, it’s not really you doing it, but them. You’re doing it for others, and they get the credit! And that today, it was because of God’s great love for her that it was my pleasure and privilege to baptize her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This day was about their love for her and how she had felt it and simply wanted to love Them all back. Tears were in our eyes. Before I knew it, both of our faces were wet. We had been immersed, cleansed, and reborn in the extravagant love of our God.
What a way to end a year of ministry! With the baptism of your first-born child. That is a memory time will not erase. Thank you, you who are reading this newsletter, for making the work we do at Renewed Heart Ministries possible. It is a sheer pleasure to be partnered with you in enlightening this world, both those that are far off and those as close as our own children, with the revelation of His character of love.